LOS ANGELES — The tallest building west of the Mississippi River opened on Friday. Standing 1,100 feet tall, the Wilshire Grand Center is the latest in a crop of new skyscrapers in the Los Angeles skyline.
From the street to the spire, the Wilshire Grand reaches a sky-high 73 stories.
Christopher Martin, the architect and development manager, says they’ve earned bragging rights.
“Built into the skin of this building, up the spines are high-density led lights. So many, that if we turn them all on and start operating them, it will stop traffic,” Martin says.
Featuring restaurants, retail, and an international hotel, the complex was built at a cost of more than $1 billion by Korean Air. Martin says its chairman, Yang Ho Cho, admires California’s scenic beauty so that inspired the design — starting with the glass crown on top.
“It’s actually the profile of half-dome in the Sierras, which is one of chairman Cho’s favorite places — and he’d been to Yosemite a lot, and the glass is the Merced River,” Martin says.
Building the tallest tower in a seismically active area also means it must have to be able to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake.
“This is one of the safest buildings in the United States because it’s designed to absorb energy,” Martin says.
It may be hard to wrap your head around, but Martin calls the building “a reed in the wind. The building has the ability to flex.”
But it also has the ability to help the home team celebrate. The sky’s the limit…